“Luck,” a Korean friend explained to me, “does not just represent mere chance in my culture. It is a concept designed to further the idea that everything that happens must have had a motivating cause.” This friend went on to tell me that she no longer practiced the Buddhist faith in which she was raised, because she objected to the belief that one’s current state in life is a consequence of past actions from a previous life or moment. In her opinion, this belief had kept many people in her country impoverished, because religious society believed that each person’s misfortune or success was due to her past misdeeds or good actions. In other words, they viewed the world as inescapably determined by an endless stream of causation.
I don’t like posts that evaluate the merits of other religions (in fact, I don’t even know if this friend’s characterization of her faith is in any way representative), but I’m mentioning this story, because this encounter encouraged me to think this week about what I value most about Easter and our LDS faith in particular. Although we certainly have impulses in our faith to look backwards towards a “restoration” of the past and have doctrines shaped by history, I feel overwhelming blessed by my personal faith that the Atonement and the Resurrection means that we are no longer bound by the mistakes of our past – that no action has trigged consequences that in the long run cannot be reshaped by the power of the Atonement. Mormonism at its heart is, to me, a beautifully forward-looking, evolving, and equalizing faith that recognizes less who we have been than who we can become. Happy Easter.